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Around the Yankee Universe: It's always about the money

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There is always news in Yankee land, so let's take a tour Around the Yankee Universe and see what stories are making the rounds today.

Moneyball: Dead, Alive, or on Life Support?

Gnashing of teeth around baseball about how much money the Yankees spend, and about how they can "buy" World Series titles, has been going on forever.

Well, a group of Harvard students did an exhaustive study of baseball's payrolls since 1990 to see just how much influence payroll has on winning in baseball.

Their conclusion? Money helps, but it's really how you spend and not how much you spend. I think I could have told you that without all the research. Anyway, here is part of the report.

Considering the past 8 seasons, this year was not particularly notable in terms of payroll predicting success. However, the big market clubs are spending smarter, particularly in the draft and on Latin American teenagers, which is not reflected in opening day payrolls. The margin for error for the little guys is razor thin and the window of opportunity can be very short (see: Indians’ downfall after 2007 and Rays’ slide after 2008). However, the data suggest that this year may not have called for the alarmist musings by some members of the media. Competitive balance is probably not what it should be, but this year was hardly different from most other recent seasons.

Credit for Pettitte

A pair of young Yankee pitchers are singing the praises of veteran left-hander Andy Petttitte. Joba Chamberlain is lobbying both the Yankees, and Pettitte, to keep Pettitte with the Yankees in 2010.

"Andy [Pettitte] has been my greatest friend -- not only baseball-wise, but trying to grow up as a man and a human being," Chamberlain said on Tuesday at his "Wrap to Rap" holiday gift-wrapping charity event at Madison Square Garden. "We'd obviously love to have him back, and that's a decision he's going to have to make with his family and himself and go from there."

Ian Kennedy just finished the Arizona Fall League, pitching to a 2-1 record and a 4.25 ERA. Kennedy has refined a two-seam fastball, and gives some of the credit to Pettitte.

"If you watch some of the better guys, some of the best pitchers -- Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina -- they all throw two-seamers," said Kennedy, who pitched alongside both starters in 2008. "You look at the positives and I've been watching those guys do it for a long time."

Free agent notes
  • Johnny Damon is a free agent for the third time, and says each time the uncertainty gets tougher. Hey, Johnny, at least you have a nice, fat bank account to fall back on. And you know you will be getting paid handsomely by someone. Try being one of the millions of Americans who don't have a job.
  • Sam Borden is not sure Matt Holliday would be a good fit for the Yankees.